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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Google Earth Color Drape on AutoCAD Mesh - The EASY Way!

The google earth extension from autodesk labs makes it really easy to drape a google earth image over a 3D mesh inside AutoCAD.

Importing the Google Earth mesh (IMPORTGEIMAGE) results in a black and white overlay of the google earth image on your mesh.  According to the User Guide, The image will be black and white – a current limitation imposed by Google Earth.

Unfortunately, the image IS black and white as you can see above and draping your own color export has been somewhat difficult within AutoCAD Architecture due to the differences in the material editor.  Until Now that is!

Rather than struggling with the materials editor and image scaling, why not simply swap your images to get the color drape you've been looking for!

Import your mesh into AutoCAD Architecture 2011 after you've loaded the GE cui file (Note: Use cuiload and change the filetype to legacy cui to load the toolbar shown below, then click the import ge mesh tool and place your mesh. I used 0,0 and a rotation of 0.)

Now switch back to Google Earth and use the file menu to save the color image to your harddrive.

Notice that the color image exported and the automatic material created by the extension have the same image dimensions!

Now open the color image you exported and saveas overwriting the material image found in the local settings folder for your Acad installation.

Note: to find this image, enter the following path in your explorer address bar:

%userprofile%\local settings\application data\autodesk\aca 2011\enu
Once you've saved as overwriting the original material, switch back to AutoCAD and issue the "MATERIALS" command.  Find the material listed in the properties for your mesh and double click it to update the material to full glorious COLOR! Watch the video below to see it in action!

See, I told you it was Easy! I hope this helped you!


Anonymous said...

Nice tip! However, I was looking around and found a tool named Plex.Earth. Looks good but do you know about this?

Adlen said...

Now Google Earth Extension for AutoCAD 2008, AutoCAD Architectural 2008, and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 is now available for beta testing on the Autodesk Labs website.